Six Nations: Gatland omits experienced trio as Scotland bring in Fagerson

By Sports Desk February 09, 2023

Warren Gatland has left experienced trio Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau and Justin Tipuric out of Wales' starting line-up for Saturday's Six Nations clash against Scotland.

Wales were beaten 34-10 on home soil by Ireland in their tournament opener last weekend as Gatland's first game back in charge after replacing Wayne Pivac ended in defeat.

Gatland has rung the changes to his pack ahead of facing Scotland at Murrayfield, with British and Irish Lions veterans Jones, Faletau and Tipuric making way.

Jones and Tipuric have been left out of the matchday squad entirely, while Rhys Davies could make his Test debut from the replacements' bench.

Dafydd Jenkins and Christ Tshiunza will make their first starts for Wales, who have also added Tommy Reffell to their back row.

"We created opportunities last week but weren't clinical enough in terms of finishing them off," said Gatland, who has won all 10 matches against Scotland as Wales head coach.

"We need to start better. We gave away stupid penalties and unforced penalties when we weren't really under a lot of pressure so that's been an area that we've spoken about."

Wales have won 13 of their past 15 matches against Scotland in the Six Nations (L2), including six of their seven matches at Murrayfield during that run (L1).

 

Scotland also named their 15-man team on Thursday, with Zander Fagerson returning to the front row in the only change from the 29-23 victory over England.

Fagerson, who missed the win at Twickenham having only recently recovered from a hamstring injury, replaces the benched WP Nel.

Last week's Calcutta Cup hero Duhan van der Merwe is joined in the back three by Kyle Steyn and Stuart Hogg, who continues at full-back.

Gregor Townsend has also named an unchanged bench, meaning no place in the squad for Hamish Watson, despite recovering from concussion.

Scotland have won their opening Six Nations fixture in each of the past three years, but they went on to lose to Wales in round two in both 2021 and 2022.

However, since beating Scotland in that most recent meeting 12 months ago, Wales have gone on to win just twice in 11 matches, losing their last three in a row.


Scotland XV: Stuart Hogg, Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Ben White; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson; Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist; Jamie Ritchie (c), Luke Crosbie, Matt Fagerson.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, WP Nel, Jonny Gray, Jack Dempsey, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn, Chris Harris.

Wales XV: Liam Williams; Josh Adams, George North, Joe Hawkins, Rio Dyer; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens (c), Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Adam Beard, Christ Tshiunza, Tommy Reffell, Jac Morgan.

Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Rhys Carre, Leon Brown, Rhys Davies, Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Webb, Rhys Patchell, Alex Cuthbert.

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